An awareness that my muscles had lost all but the most minimal strength became a quick realization. How on earth would I continuously ride a bicycle for any length of time when traveling a couple of miles into town seemed to find me just on the brink of muscle failure? To my complete dismay, this is only a slight amplification of the truth.
As I continued to think on all of this and ride only occasionally, the Errandonnee event arrived. It was a perfect opportunity to continue to ride short distances and to test any sort of theories about riding a bike forever. Forever is a long time though, and because I am extremely cranky without sleep, I continued to adapt my plan for continuous riding into thoughts that seemed more reasonable.
My ability to ride daily was tested with just short distances around town for about a week and a half. This activity didn't bother me a bit, so it seemed completely reasonable that I should, in all likelihood, be able to complete 30, 20-mile days in a row.
Soon, April arrived and I was reminded that it is the official month when lots of people on bicycles commit to 30-days of riding. This should have made my personal commitment that much easier, but for some reason, it did not. Instead, I have found myself feeling the mental strain of trying to create a schedule to follow.
There is a very real possibility that you, dearest reader, are one of many people who prefer to have a schedule or a plan of action, but there's something about making a formal plan that causes everything to go awry.
Instead of looking forward to riding, it is easier to put off starting. As soon as I believe I have a plan of attack, I start to second guess it - which is precisely why I prefer not to plan things at all. If I have no time to think about it, there's really no reason to put off a task. Plus, I find that I do much better when I just wake up on any non-specific day and do something that seems ridiculous. Ludicrous behavior and planning just don't seem to mix well in my experience.
The irony of it all is that I have been riding nearly every day for a couple of months now, but as soon as a label or idea is put to the miles pedaled it becomes a kind of chore or I lose interest in what is supposed to be the main focus. When I feel some level of pressure to commit to a particular "thing" it all seems to come unraveled.
As I attempted to begin the 30, 20-mile days of riding, it didn't last long. It was almost as though putting a specific to my pedaling jinxed the entire process. It isn't that I could not or cannot start again, but I've come to the conclusion that any time I try to plan something, it never seems to quite go well.
What is most interesting is that spring seems to bring out in me this compulsion to make goals and plans for the "riding season." I cannot seem to help myself, despite my knowledge that the planning itself is often the demise of the entire goal. I understand that setting goals, making plans, and even sharing all of it to keep myself accountable are all more likely to result in a positive outcome, but it rarely seems to work in my favor.
In my experience, it almost seems to come together when I have a loose idea with no specific time frame and I simply happen to accomplish the goal without even truly realizing what has happened. I almost view it as a way of fooling myself into believing I'm not going to complete a given activity, but then working toward it all along.
I do realize how crazy this must sound. I also understand that on some subconscious level, I must comprehend that it is a form of goal setting, but my brain and body seek out ways to keep the process fun because I know how bored I can get with routine (which is a reality of working toward any goal - routine/repetition is necessary).
Feasibly I cannot ride continuously, forever on a bicycle, but the idea of it is still something that captures a thought in my mind every now and again. Maybe I will complete riding every street in my city, I'll ride 30 days of 20-miles, end up doing the 6 centuries in 30 days instead, or it may be something else entirely. For me, not really knowing (even if the idea is there) is part of the enjoyment.
Perhaps one future spring season will arrive and I will come to grips with the idea that I simply have a different way of going about goal-setting. Until then, I'll likely continue to convince myself that I can set goals and follow logical steps to get to an end point. But, then again, maybe the self-mind games are half the fun?